A visit to Akita in northern Japan

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

Akita, Japan — On an early Monday morning, we went to the Shinagawa Station and took the subway to Tokyo Station for our trip to Akita Prefecture, four hours away, northwest of Japan, facing Siberia, Russia. It’s been five years ago since I took the Shinkansen (Bullet train) to Hiroshima. Four short hours later we are in Northern Japan where the snow is now on the ground… and it is 3 degrees below zero.

On board the Shinkansen, while travelling at 320KPH, we were served hot food…for about 1,000 Yen. I asked for a Braised Beef Tongue with Rice. But this was truly a first time experience for me as the stewardess handed me a small cold cardboard box and then instructed me in Japanese to pull the string attached to the box and warned me not to touch the box. In five-minutes, the whole box was heating or steaming. When I finally opened the steaming hot box, there was my meal with rice and beef tongue. It turned cold only after I consumed the meal. This was cooking without fire!

Two hours away from Tokyo as the train was rushing towards the north, the landscape was changing and the ground had patches of white…until there were snow flurries. When the train made a scheduled stopped and the doors opened… one could feel how cold it was. Thankfully, our Metropolitan Hotel in Akita was just beside the Akita Train Station, so we really didn’t have to walk outside with bags in tow in this freezing cold weather. Of course we were told that Akita would be cold at this time, but no one expected snow to be on the ground already.

One of our purposes to come to Akita was to visit the Chapel in Akita where on June 28, 1973, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, a Japanese nun, saw a cross-shaped wound on her left palm, bleeding profusely and causing her untold pain. She didn’t know what it was until on July 6th of that year Sr. Agnes heard a voice coming from the 3-ft. tall wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their chapel. Then her fellow sisters saw drops of blood flowing from the statue’s right hand and on September 29th, the statue began to sweat from the forehead. Two years later on Jan 4, 1975, the same statue began to weep…at various intervals for the next six years.

On July 6, 1973, Sr. Agnes heard this message from the Blessed Virgin Mary who told her, “My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter.

Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together. “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of His Kingdom. “Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.”

Then on Oct. 13, 1973 the Blessed Virgin Mary once again gave a message to Sr. Sasagawa saying, “My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior. “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one has never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful.

The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms, which will remain for you, will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests. “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres...churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

“The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them”

“With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation.” Why am I in Akita? This is what I want to find out… perhaps the Lord is also giving me something to do in the service of our Catholic Community, especially that next week we host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu. There has to be a divine message for us Cebuanos why we are hosting the IEC here.


For email responses to this article, write to [email protected]. or [email protected].  His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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